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Glossary of Terms

Consumer Glossary of Terms


90 Days Same-As-Cash:  A no interest option, if paid off in full within 90 days.  (May incur additional fees for early repayment – dependent on lender.) 


Accessories:  Add ons to a mattress purchase.  (e.g. mattress protectors, sheets, pillows. metal frame, etc.)

Adjustable Bed Base:  An electro-mechanical bed frame construction that permits the raising and lowering of the head and/or foot portions of the mattress with the use of a remote control.

Air Chamber:  An air chamber is a tightly packed pocket of air that can be inflated or deflated to provide the exact level of firmness or softness you want. These adjustable mattresses can be built with one air chamber or two. The latter allows two people to enjoy different sleep settings in the same bed.

Anti-Microbial Fiber and Foam:  Treatment that inhibits the growth of microbial contaminates.


Backing:  Any fabric or sheeting material that is used during quilting to anchor the stitches.

Beautyrest®:  A widely known brand, featuring innovative pocketed coils, invented in 1925 by a Simmons® engineer named John Franklin Gail.

Bed Base:  A platform bed base that takes the place of a metal frame or foundation.

Bedding:   Commonly used as a generic term for a mattress and foundation set, but may also apply to accessory items such as blankets, sheets, pillows, comforters, mattress pads, etc.

Bed Frame:  A metal or wood frame with legs used to support a mattress and foundation.  Conventional height is 6 inches when measured from the floor to the bottom of the foundation.  Generally, a headboard can be attached. 

Bed Risers:  Leg extensions, blocks or cones placed under the bed to raise it higher off the floor.

Bedsprings:  Open-spring or wire fabric box springs without upholstery materials or cover.

Bed Support:  Bed rails or frame which prevents a mattress set from twisting and sagging.

Body Alignment:  The anatomical positioning and balance of the spine, muscles and joints.

Body Impressions:  Indentations occurring on the surface of a mattress over time, due to the compression of materials by the human body.

Border:  The vertical side or edge of a mattress or foundation. Pre-built borders are constructed by stitching together the ticking, foam or other filling materials and a backing material.  Commonly quilted or vertical-stitched.

Border Rod:  A heavy gauge wire rod attached to the perimeter of the innerspring unit (top and bottom) by means of a helical wire or metal clips.

Bounce:  The degree to which the mattress responds to pressure and transfers energy back in the direction that pressure was applied.  Responsiveness and bounce are closely related.  Generally, a mattress with high response will also have a higher degree of bounce.  Traditional coil mattresses have a high degree of bounce because they transfer energy back through and have an immediate effect that builds up through pressure.

Box Spring:  An old term that describes a technology that is no longer used and may also be referred to as a “foundation.” A base for an innerspring mattress, consisting of coils or other forms of springs mounted on a wood or metal frame and secured with a wire-interlaced or welded-wire grid, topped with upholstery and insulating materials (felt, urethane or other resilient materials), and covered on the top and sides with ticking and on the bottom with a dust cover.  It is an important part of a bed set since it serves as a shock absorber, distributes weight, and supports and interacts with the innerspring mattress to properly support the body.  (Standard size is 9” and low-profile size is 5”.)

Bunk Bed:  A two-tiered wood or metal frame designed to accommodate two mattresses, typically twin-size, one above the other. Some models allow the upper and lower units to be detached and used as separate beds.

Bunkie:  A mattress, usually twin-size, and platform base used on bunk beds. 

Bunkie Board:  A thin platform commonly used to support a mattress in a daybed, platform bed, bunk bed, or trundle mattress. (Typically used in lieu of bulky box-springs.)



California King:  a king-sized bed or mattress that is longer and slightly narrower than a standard king size.  (72” W × 84” L)

Carbon:  The principal hardening element in steel. The higher the carbon content, the harder the metal and the more temper it will take, thus giving longer “memory.”  Is used in some mattress technologies.

Cellulose Pad:  Woody fiber compacted into a pad and used as an insulator.  May be glued or sandwiched between plastic netting to help hold it together.

Center Bar:  A bar centered on the box spring (foundation) for added and proper support of a mattress. 

CertiPUR-US® - A voluntary foam certification program.  CertiPUR-US certified foams are examined and put through a series of scientific tests to be sure they meet the standards of the CertiPUR-US program.  Being CertiPUR-US certified specifically means that the foams have been tested and are meeting low emission (VOCs) for indoor air quality; being made without ozone depleters; being made without mercury, lead and heavy metals; being made without formaldehyde; and being made without prohibited phthalates (AKA foam softening agents).

Clearance:  A sale or event in which a large number of items are discounted. 

Closeout:  A sale of goods at reduced prices to get rid of superfluous stock.

Coil Count:  The number of coils in innerspring and pocketed coil unit(s). Though the count can affect weight distribution, it is not the determining factor for firmness.  The count is usually based on the number of coils in a full-size unit.

Coils:  The individual wire springs that form an innerspring or pocketed coil unit. See Hourglass, Continuous and Offset Coils.

Coil Gauge:  A measure of the wire or coil thickness used in an innerspring unit. A lower gauge number denotes a heavier/thicker wire.

Comfort:  The ability of cushioning materials in mattress to conform to body’s shape, preventing a concentration of pressure on the joints and muscles. Comfort is a general term to describe the overall "feel" a mattress.

Comfort Layer:  The top layers that make up the part of the mattress that is closest to the body. The comfort layers are usually a few inches thick and found above the mattress support core layer(s).

Comfort System:  Refers to the upholstery layers of the mattress, generally consisting of a combination of materials (cover, cushioning, topper pad, insulators, etc.).

Continuous Coils:  An innerspring configuration in which the rows of coils are formed from a single piece of wire.

Contouring:  The ability to follow or fit the natural curves (contours) of the body.

Corner Guard:  Molded plastic or metal, (sometimes upholstered) fittings secured to foundation corners to prevent material damage from the bed frame.

Corsicana® (MBA Mattresses):  Founded in 1971 as Tipton Manufacturing, Inc. in Corsicana, TX, and is now the sixth largest mattress company.  Offering several types of mattresses including, traditional inner spring, gel memory foam, memory foam, and hybrid options. 

Cradling:  The ability of the cushion system to distribute body weight uniformly over the seating area.

Cratering:  The term used when describing the inability to turn over on a memory foam mattress.

Crown:  A convex surface on a mattress.  Mattresses with a half-inch crown are a half-inch thicker at the center than at the edges.

Cushion Firm:  For those who want the support of a firm mattress, but like a little softness, a cushion firm mattress—which features extra cushioning on the sleeping surface—is the right choice.

Cushioning:  Materials that lie above the insulator and below the fabric covering in an innerspring mattress.  These materials are typically combinations of polyurethane foam, cotton felt, and/or made-made fibers.


Density:  A measure of weight per cubic volume, usually expressed in pounds per cubic foot.  Often referred to when discussing foam.

Double Bed:  Also known as a full, regular, or standard size mattress.  (54” W x 74” L)

Double Sided:  A mattress built from the core out (usually an innerspring system surrounded by padding) so both sides of the mattress are the same.

Dream Smart®:  An intelligent company that uses technology to achieve comfort like none other.  Their product assortment features a variety of unique specialty foams, luxurious fabrics, and added comfort technologies.

Durability:  How well foam retains its comfort, support, and shape with use.  As applied to flexible foams, the term refers to how well foam retains its load bearing capacity and shape with use.

Dust Cover:  A woven or non-woven fabric attached to the underside of a foundation to prevent the collection of dust inside.  May also be known as “sheeting” or “cambric.”

Dust Mites:  Microscopic animals (related to spiders) that can live in our mattress and feed on dead skin flakes.  Mostly found in bedding, carpets, and soft furnishings.  As many as a million dust mites can live in a mattress.  Their feces (droppings) are a major trigger of allergies and asthma.  Use of a mattress protector will prevent dust mites from nesting and breeding in your mattress.


Edge Guard:  Additional foam or wire support to prevent sagging on the edge of a mattress.  In addition, it increases the usable sleep surface of the mattress.

Elasticity:  Term that describes the flexibility and resiliency of an object or material.

Engineered Edge Support:  A special design where the coils on the outer edge of an innerspring unit are actually positioned under the border rod.  Most units have the coils recessed from the edge, which can contribute to a “roll out of bed” feeling.

Euro-Top Mattress: A European design, a euro-top mattress features a raised, squared-off surface finishing treatment filled with soft comfort layers and attached to the mattress upholstery at the tape-edge.   Similar to a pillow top but tighter in design.

Exchanges:  MBA does not offer exchanges, nor do we recommend you offering them.  All sales are final and there are no refunds. 

Extra Firm:  Typically have the least amount of comfort foams and padding layers, making them the hardest mattresses available with the least amount of “give” on the surface.  These beds are commonly referred to as “non-pillow top” mattresses and are the least susceptible to body impressions.  Often times, sleepers will add mattress toppers or overlays to create a softer sleep surface, thus minimizing the “board like” feel.  (Typically recommended for stomach sleepers.)




Fabric Cover:  Cloth or textile material woven, knitted or felted of any fiber or mixture of fibers. Often referred to as “ticking” or mattress fabric.

Featherbed:  A soft, thick mattress topper filled with down or feathers.

Fiber:  Small strands of materials used to build up a layer of a mattress.

Financing:  The act of providing funds for a product or service.

Fire Retardant:  Material applied to a mattress in order to reduce its flammability.  In the United States, all mattresses sold to the general public since 2007 have been required to meet certain flame-resistance standards.

Firm:  Are non-pillow tops and are very similar to Extra Firm models except that they contain a larger percentage of cushioning; meaning the Firm Mattress contains more padding than the Extra Firm Mattress.  This provides sleepers a hard surface with solid support underneath.  (Typically recommended for stomach and back sleepers.)

Five Star®:  Manufactures and distributes its products throughout the United States.  With a network of 23 factories across the United States, Five Star Mattress is able to provide consistent service and support to their network of retailers and consumers.  Five Star uses many of the same comfort and support features found in many name brand mattresses. 

Flipping:  The procedure of periodically turner over and/or rotating a mattress for proper care.

Foam:  A cellular material made from polyurethane or latex (rubber).  Foam can be soft, firm, or completely rigid.

Foam Core:  Slab of foam that sits below the surface layer of a mattress, serving as the main support system.

Foam Density:  The weight of 1 cubic foot of foam.  Density has nothing to do with the firmness of the foam.  Density only equates to the weight per cubic foot.  (Lower grade foams are 1.2 lb density, mid-grade foams are 1.5 lb density, and higher quality foams are 1.8 lb and up.)

Foam Encasement:  The three or four-inch-wide foam boarder that encases the innerspring unit of a mattress. Manufacturers promote this as a feature that expands the sleep surface and firms the edge of a mattress.

Foam Foundation:  Consists of a built-up wood slat frame covered with a sheet of cardboard or similar material, topped with at least 2” of foam and covered with ticking.

Foam Mattress:  Typically consisting of memory foam, gel memory foam, or latex, a foam mattress is a mattress that utilizes a solid foam core for its support system (no metal coils or innersprings). 

Footboard:  A board or panel, usually made of wood or metal, that connects to the foot of a bed frame.

Foundation:  Any base or support for a mattress, sometimes used as a generic term for box spring.  A foundation may be made entirely of wood or a combination of wood and steel or steel springs. See Box Spring and Foam Foundation.

Four-Poster Bed:  A bed with four vertical columns, one in each corner, that support a tester, or upper (usually rectangular) panel. This tester or panel will often have rails to allow curtains to be pulled around the bed.

Frame:  Term that most commonly refers to a bed frame and provides support for the box spring or foundation.

Full Size:  the smallest option for fitting two adults comfortably in the same bed. It provides a compromise between the comfort of a Queen or King and the compactness of a Twin.  (54” W x 74”L)

Full Warranty:  A warranty that completely covers the repair or replacement of a mattress due to any defects.


Gauge:  A measurement of the diameter of the steel wire used in coil construction.  Wire gauge for innerspring coils range from 12.5 to 17. The higher the gauge, the thinner the wire.

Gel:  A semi-rigid silicon material that can help disperse heat away from the body.

Gel Foam: Generally, a visco-elastic foam containing “beads” or particles of semi-solid gel–also called “gel-infused foam.” Originally used in medical products to help prevent decubitus ulcers, gel is a popular component in consumer mattresses and pillows. Semi-solid, poured gel also can be used as a separate component in the comfort layer of a bed. Another type of solid gel comfort layer found in mattresses has a honeycomb or grid profile and used at the top of the bed, beneath the ticking.


Hardness:  A measure of the foam’s ability to support a load – an indication of the suitability of the foam for various applications and its initial feel – not a measure of quality

Headboard:  An upright unit of wood, metal, plastic, or upholstered material, to be attached at the head of a bed, usually with the bed frame.

High-Contour Mattress:  Measures 9” – 13” thick.  A mattress under 9” thick is considered “standard”; over 13” thick is considered “custom.”

High Density:  In general terms, a higher quality foam with a stronger, heavier, and more durable cell structure.

High Density Foam (HD Foam):  A general term to describe foam that is especially dense and durable.

High Resilience Foam (HDR Foam):  HR foams generally offer superior resilience, comfort, and durability and are considered higher quality.

Hybrid Mattress:  Commonly used industry term for a mattress that typically combines a pocketed coil, or an innerspring unit, with specialty foams such as visco-elastic or latex.

Hypoallergenic:  Used to describe mattresses or bedding that are safe for individuals with allergies. Hypoallergenic materials inhibit the propagation of allergy-affecting microorganisms like dust mites, bacteria, and fungus by preventing them from penetrating into mattresses, pillows, or other objects. This denies the organisms enough space to breed to levels that would affect an individual's allergies.  Memory foam and latex are usually regarded as hypoallergenic mattress materials. As solid-block types, memory foam and latex mattresses prevent microorganism populations from dwelling inside. Innerspring mattresses do not offer such protection and are not hypoallergenic. However, protective bed covers may be purchased to curb microorganism growth. Pillows can also be hypoallergenic using memory foam construction or protective covers.


Ideal Weight Distribution:  Equalization of support in such a way as to eliminate pressure points that cause discomfort resulting in tossing and turning.  Best achieved with coil on coil construction and properly designed insulation and cushioning material.

Independent Coils:  Coils that move independent of one another to limit the transfer of motion and disturbance from your sleeping partner.

Individually Wrapped Coils:  A wrapped coil is a mattress coil that is encased in fabric. Mattress manufacturers individually wrap free-moving springs in independent coil systems to prevent them from entangling with each other. When a person lies down, the coils respond independently, giving the individual custom contoured support. Wrapped coils also cut down motion transfer.

Innerspring Mattress:  The most common variety available, innerspring mattresses are filled with coils, or springs, sandwiched between layers of padding. Some innerspring mattresses can be made with individually wrapped coils for a more custom fit—and less movement if you're sharing a bed with someone who tosses and turns.

Innerspring Unit Construction (for mattresses):  The spring construction used as the main support system inside an innerspring mattress.  Some common types are:  pocketed (see Marshall) and all metal (i.e., bonnell, offset and continuous wire).


King Size:  At a full 16" wider than a Queen bed, a King size mattress is designed for those who want more comfort and luxury in their sleeping arrangement.  (76” W x 80” L)

King Split:  Bed that consists of two twin extra-long mattresses.  (39” W x 80” L, each)

Knit:  Fabric used in mattress covers that is knitted rather than woven, creating a ‘stretchier’ and softer feel.


Latex:  A flexible foam created from a water dispersion of rubber, either from the rubber tree (natural latex) or a man-made, petroleum-based product (synthetic latex). Most latex used in mattresses today is a combination of natural and synthetic latex rubber.

Latex Foam:  A natural and antimicrobial foam that provides durability, support, and comfort.  Latex is considered a high-quality mattress component.

Limited Warranty:  A manufacturers product guarantee as a written statement that sets conditions and time limit that the product will work as stated.  Such warranties are typically limited to repair or replacement of a defective mattress.

Liquidation:  The act of turning assets/products into cash. 

Loft:  The height of “lift” gained by the depth of the filling material.

Low Profile Box Spring:  "low profile" box springs are between 5 and 5.5 inches (13 and 14 cm).

Luxury Firm:  Luxury Firm mattresses are very similar to a firm mattress with a little extra padding to provide pressure relief.  The luxury firm mattress contours to your body while still maintaining very firm support.  Luxury Firm could also be defined as “Cushion Firm”.  Luxury Firm Mattresses are typically recommended for Stomach and Back Sleepers.

Luxury Firm Pillow Top:  Are typically made with extra material to give firm support while still providing pressure relief of a pillow top.  In some cases, the Luxury Firm PT has a thicker gauge coil giving it extra stiffness in the support system.  Luxury Firm Pillow Top Mattresses are a perfect choice for couples who have different comfort preferences and cannot decide between a firm or a soft mattress.  (Typically recommended for stomach and back sleepers.)

Luxury Mattress:  High-end mattress produced with specialized materials, hand-crafting, extra features, and/or customization. 


Malouf®:  Created in 2003 by Sam and Kacie Malouf.  Offering pillows, linens, frames, protectors, and toppers. 

Massage:  The rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the body, especially to relieve tension or pain.  (only available on adjustable bases)

Mattress:  A manufactured product to sleep on, consisting of various resilient materials covered with an outer ticking.  Comes from the Arabic term “matrah” meaning to throw down.  Early Arabs traveled with their bedding and threw it down on the ground or floor at night.

Mattress Handles:  Fabric or cords sewn into the upholstery of a mattress to aid in positioning it on its foundation.

Memory:  The ability of tempered steel, foam or some fabrics to return to their original state after being compressed or stretched.

Memory Foam:  a polyurethane material that is sensitive to pressure and temperature, used especially in mattresses, where it molds to the shape of an individual's body.

Memory Foam Gel:  Designed to help regulate temperature as you sleep, gel is placed in the foam of a mattress to help you get to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

Microcoil:  A low-profile metal spring unit, typically with individually wrapped coils, used in the top comfort layers of a mattress.

Motion Separation:  A technology introduced to the bedding industry by Simmons® Beautyrest® and the ‘pocketed coil’.  An innovation which reduces the unwanted transfer of motion between sleeping partners.

Motion Transfer:  when one sleeper moves and the other sleeper is disturbed and even woke up through energy that is carried through the building materials of the mattress. This rolling over and reposition is of course a normal occurrence in human sleep patterns. Motion transfer can lighten the state of sleep and as mentioned even wake a sleeping partner.

Mounting:  Attachment of a box spring unit to a wood or metal frame.


Natural Fibers:  A fiber which come from a plant such as cotton, wool, silk, or bamboo.

Natural Latex:  Pure and natural latex is made by processing serum collected from ducts beneath the bark of the rubber tree.  The sap is harvested, processed in a centrifuge, poured into a mold, and baked.  Real, non-synthetic latex is by far the most resilient material used in mattresses today. 

Neck Pillow:  Used to sleep on and support the head/neck or other parts of the body while sleeping, lying down or sitting.

No-Flip Mattress:  A mattress designed with a sleeping surface on one side only, such that it does not require end-over-end flipping to provide continuous support and maintain its warranty.

Non-Prorated Warranty:  This type of warranty covers full repair or replacement of a defective mattress for the entire length of the warranty period.



Offset Coils:  An hourglass type coil on which portions of the top and bottom convolutions have been flattened.  In assembling the innerspring unit, these flat segments of wire are hinged together with helicals.

Open Cell Structure:  A permeable structure in flexible foam in which there is no barrier/film obstructing the passage of air through the well windows.  An extreme open-cell foam has even larger openings providing greater air flow.

Orthopedic:  Generalized term to imply set gives proper postural alignment and support.  Should not necessarily mean hard or board feeling.  Proper support with a degree of comfort to contour to the body is best.

Osteoarthritis:  A degenerative disease characterized by inflammation of the joints between bones.

Overlay:  Often referred to as a mattress topper.  A foam pad that can be placed on top of a mattress to enhances its comfort and/or reduce pressure points.



Panel:  The part of the ticking that constitutes the top sleep surface of a mattress, as well as the bottom of a mattress on a two-sided bed.

Phase-Change Material: PCMs are organic and inorganic compounds that store and release heat as they melt and solidify at certain temperatures. It is decades-old technology based on centuries-old thermodynamics research into the nature of “latent heat.” Also known as latent heat storage, phase-change material has applications in many industries, from building products to bedding. The mattress industry uses microencapsulated phase change material technology in foams, fabrics, yarns and as topical applications.

Pillows:  Pressure relieving head and neck supports that allow your spine to rest anatomically correct and tension free.  Quality pillows are usually molded using visco-elastic (memory material) or latex.

Pillow Protector:  A basic covering for a pillow to protect the pillow from dirt and oils.  Can also be made in waterproof or moisture proof material.

Pillow Top Mattress:  A mattress featuring a surface finishing treatment where a separate encasement of soft materials is attached to the entire surface on top of existing cover and upholstery.

Platform Bed:  a bed consisting of a mattress supported by a platform, which sometimes contains drawers for storage.

Plush Mattress:  Plush Mattresses are best defined as medium comfort and a “compromise” between partners with different sleeping styles. Plush Mattresses have more padding and comfort materials than a Firm Mattress.  They are designed to provide a happy medium between firms and pillow tops. They may be similar in feel to some pillow tops but the extra layers of padding are less visible because they are built into the surface instead of layered over the finished surface.  Plush Mattresses come in a variety of options:  Plush Firm (medium firm), Ultra Plush (more soft), Deluxe Plush (enhanced materials), Luxury Plush (enhanced materials).

Pocketed coil (AKA Marshall Coil):  A type of innerspring construction in which thin gauge, barrel-shaped, knotless coils are encased in fabric pockets.  Also known as “pocketed coils.”

Polyester:  A synthetic (man-made) fiber used in textiles; durable, wrinkle and shrinkage resistant.  Polyester fiber is often blended with cotton or other fibers to produce blended cloth.

Poly-fill:  A synthetic (man-made) fiber used in pillows and cushions.

Polyurethane Foam:  A flexible, durable and resilient material used in a variety of products as a cushioning material. All foams, other than natural latex foam, are polyurethane foams (including memory foam). 

Pressure Points:  a point on the surface of the body sensitive to pressure.

Pressure Relief:  The capacity of a mattress to relieve pressure on your body.  Traditional mattresses produce upward pressure, while your body exerts downward pressure due to gravity.

Prorated Warranty:  Mattress warranty that does not cover the full mattress purchase price or replacement value after a certain period of time, requiring the customer to pay a portion of the original price to have it replaces, typically depending on how long that mattress was used.


Queen Size:  Considered the most popular option for master suites and bedrooms, a Queen size mattress is the standard for two people sleeping side by side.  (60” W x 80” L)

Queen Split:  Bed that consists of two mattresses.  (30” W x 80” L, each)

Quilting:   The surface treatment in which the cover, foam and/or other fibers are sewn together, using various stitch patterns on quilting machinery, including scroll or panel quilters (single needle) and multi-needle quilters.


Referral Program:  Most MBA local owner/operators offer a referral plan to their customers.  Gifts include, but are not limited to, gift certificates, in-store credit, free pillows, or discounts on purchases.

Resilience:  Surface liveliness and spring-back ability.

Responsiveness:  How quickly the mattress adjusts to changes in pressure.  This is most relevant for foam mattresses, which allow the sleeper to sink into the mattress.  A mattress with quick response time will rapidly change to adjustments in pressure and sleeping positions.  A mattress with a slow response time will stay indented longer and more slowly change its shape.  Slower response times were a major problem in earlier generations of memory foam.

Retail (Traditional):  a place of business usually owned and operated by a retailer but sometimes owned and operated by a manufacturer or by someone other than a retailer in which merchandise is sold primarily to ultimate consumers.  Usually with set open/close times and traditional high retail markups.

Rotate:  To turn your mattress.  It is recommended that you do so once a month to help renew the comfort layers and maintain optimum performance.

Return:  MBA does not accept returns.  All sales are final and there are no refunds.  (refer to the MBA invoice.)


Sealy®:  Founded by Daniel Haynes in Sealy, TX.  Offers three main types of mattresses including, traditional inner spring, memory foam, and hybrid options.  Sealy was purchased by Tempur in 2012, creating Tempur Sealy International. 

Serta®:  Founded in 1931 in Hoffman Estates, IL.  Is the largest mattress brand in the USA, and offers four main types of mattresses to choose from, including traditional inner spring, gel-infused memory foam, hybrid, and Talalay Latex. 

Sheeting:  a woven or non-woven fabric other than knits that have a degree of sizing and are somewhat stiff.

Side Rail:  A metal or wood rail, which hooks into the outside edges of a headboard and footboard to provide the support base for a foundation and mattress.

Simmons®:  Founded in 1870 in Kenosha, WI by Zalmon G. Simmons.  Offering three main types of mattresses including, traditional inner spring, memory foam, and hybrid options. 

Single-Sided Mattress:  A mattress construction that has been designed with only one sleep surface, eliminating the need to flip your mattress.

Single Size – Twin:  approximately 39 inches (99 cm) wide and between 75 and 76 inches (191 and 193 cm) long; single.

Slats:  Narrow strips of wood used to support the coils in the box spring frame.  Also used in a bedstead to support the box spring.

Sleep Set:  A general term to describe the combination of foundation, mattress, headboard, footboard, and bed frame.

Sleigh Bed:  a bed resembling a sleigh, with an outward-curving headboard and footboard.

Smooth Top:  A plain surfaced mattress, neither tufted nor quilted.  Also called button-free.

Soft-Tex®:  Founded in 1986 by Art and Harold Perry; specializing in advanced memory foam and other premium sleep products.  And is the maker of Dream Smart mattresses.

Spine Alignment:  The goal of perfect support is to keep the spine in its natural alignment in all sleeping positions.

Split Foundation:  A box spring that is divided into two components and designed to be used in pair under a single mattress.

Split King:  A split king or dual king mattress are in reality two mattresses; each are about the size of a twin bed mattress and when put together, form a king size bed.

Split Queen:  two mattresses and two separate box-springs or one mattress with two foundations.

Springs:  Wire shaped into spirals to provide support and resistance when weight is applied.  A spring consists of coils, or the individual turns within the spring.  Commonly grouped together in innerspring units and used for support in mattresses.

Spring Count:  The total number of individual springs within a mattress.

Spring Mattress:  Developed around the year 1900, the spring mattress revolutionized mattresses, which had formerly been made of cotton, horsehair, or similar materials.  The steel spring created an entirely different feel as well as a different manufacturing process.

Spring Wire:  Wire made from high carbon steel, characterized by toughness, strength and ductility.  Typically furnished in 8 to 18 gauge for bedding industry applications.

Steel:  A variety of iron, intermediate in composition and properties between wrought iron and cast iron.  Steel can be tempered and retains magnetism.  Steel contains between .5% and 1.5% carbon (carbon being the major alloying material), not more than 1.65% manganese, .6% silicon, and .6% copper.  It can also contain chromium, nickel, molybdenum, tungsten, vanadium and other metals.  Nickel is added for tensile strength.  Chromium increases hardness.  Vanadium increases hardness while reducing the effects of metal fatigue.  Sulfur and phosphorous create gaps in steel and are commonly removed from the ore to create a better steel.  Mild steel contains less than .25% carbon; medium steel contains .25%-.45% carbon; high carbon steel contains between .45%-1.5% carbon.  When you increase the content of carbon in steel, it becomes less malleable and more fusible.  (Adding more carbon to the steel creates cast iron.)

Steel Unit Construction (for box springs):  The spring construction used as the main support system inside a box spring.

Stretch Knit: A heavy-weight mattress ticking consisting of a top layer, bottom layer and filling material knitted together and intermittently stitched to keep the filling yarns stable.

Super Pillow Top:  Super Pillow Top Mattresses are generally the softest and thickest types of mattresses. A pillow top refers to an attached pillow-like “top” which can consist of multiple comfort foams designed to provide a softer feel without diminishing support.  Pillow tops usually provide more cushioning than a Firm or Plush Mattress. It is important to understand when the word “firm” and “plush” are associated with the word “pillow top”. In some cases, a “firm pillow top” or “plush firm pillow top” can be firmer or more supportive than a regular “plush” or “ultra plush” mattress even though it is a pillow top. “Super pillow tops” are typically the softest choices.

Support:  A general term to describe how the mattress distributes and stabilizes body weight and maintains proper body alignment.

Support Layer:  Layers that make up part of a mattress for additional support.

Synthetic Fibers:  Man-made fibers such as polyester, acrylic, etc.

Synthetic Foam:  A polymerized cellular material made from an organic base other than rubber.

Synthetic Latex:  Synthetic Latex is a synthetically produced compound that mimics the properties of natural latex.  Rather than being harvested from rubber trees it is produced from petrochemicals.  Several types of synthetic latex exist but SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) is the most common type of synthetic latex used in the production of synthetic latex foam.


Tape edge:  A specified type of sewing machine designed to stitch binding tape around the top and bottom edges of the mattress, joining the panels with the border and closing the mattress.

Tempering:  Heat treatment of wire to reduce brittleness.  Accomplished by electric charge, oven heat or both.  Also known as “stress relieved”.

Tempur-Pedic®:   Introduced in Sweden and brought to the USA in 1992, Tempur material was created for NASA initially and then used in mattresses.  Tempur purchased Sealy in 2012, merging and forming Tempur Sealy International. 

Thread Count:  The number of threads woven together in a square inch.

Ticking:  Fabrics for covering mattresses and foundations. Also known as mattress fabric. Common types include: stretchy double knits, woven damasks, woven upholstery-style fabrics, knits and nonwovens.

Tight Top:  A mattress that does not have the extra ‘pillow’ of fabric on top, but still has a thicker, flat comfort upholstery.  Normally a firmer feel, the mattress can also be plush and feel very luxurious in a tight top.

Tempering:  Heat treatment of wire to reduce brittleness.  Accomplished by electric charge, oven heat or both.  Also known as “stress relieved”.

Tensile Strength:  The pounds per square inch of force required to stretch a material to the breaking point.

Topper:  A mattress topper is removable bedding that sits on top of your mattress. Its goal is to supplement the comfort of your mattress or address your mattress' limitations.

Trundle bed:  A low bed that is rolled under a larger bed.  In some constructions, the lower bed springs up to form a full bed or two single beds as in a high riser.

Tufting:  Consists of passing twine, cords or tape vertically through the mattress from top to bottom, knotting and securing the loops thus formed with tufts, buttons, or lacing.  The purpose is to hold the mattress filling in place.

Twin:  A mattress designed with one person in mind, and is built to fit into small spaces. The Twin is ideal for a child's bedroom or a smaller apartment.  (39” W x 75” L)

Twin XL:  The same width as a standard Twin, a Twin XL mattress has an additional 5" of length—perfect for taller sleepers.  (39” W x 80” L)


Ultra Plush:  Is similar to a plush mattress, but with a much thicker upholstery layer making it look and feel more like a pillow top.

Under Carriage Lighting:  Lighting underneath an adjustable base.

Upholstery Layers:  The foam, padding and fibers used between the support system/innerspring unit and the cover of a mattress.

Urethane Foam:  Synthetic (chemically foamed) flexible urethane used for mattress cores and as a cushioning material.  As a core, it’s the main support system.  Generic term covering both polyester and polyether foams.


Vacuum Packed:  An environmentally friendly process used with some foam mattresses, allowing them to be rolled, compressed, and vacuum packed for delivery.  This means your mattress can be easily moved to the room of your choice.

VertiCoil™:  Mattress coil units produced by Leggett & Platt® that use open, off-set construction.  The coils have a wider circumference on the top and bottom with a narrower circumference in the middle to improve compression consistency.  Alternating coils that are wound clockwise with coils that are wound counter-clockwise further add to the unit’s stability.

Visco-Elastic:  The characteristics of a material that combines both viscous and elastic behaviors.

Visco-Elastic Foam:  Also known as “memory foam.”  Slow recovery urethane foams that are temperature sensitive.  They conform to the body and distribute pressure according to body heat and dynamics.

Visco-Elastic Memory Foam:  Same as visco-elastic foam or memory foam.


WallHugger®:  A technology developed by L&P that puts you at the center of the bed’s motion.  A base with WallHugger® engineering lifts you up while simultaneously gliding you back. 

Warranty:  A warranty is a manufacturer's written statement that guarantees the quality and performance of a mattress. Warranties protect customers from being stuck with a faulty mattress because manufacturers replace products that do not perform as promised. Typically, warranties cover any manufacturer defects in mattresses. Warranties do not cover any stains, rips, or general damage that a user may cause to a mattress.  Most mattresses come with some kind of warranty. Mattresses may carry ported or non-ported warranties. Ported warranties require owners to cover part of the cost of replacement, depending on the duration of ownership. Non-ported warranties require manufacturers to cover the entire cost of replacement. Warranty duration also varies by mattress. Basic warranties last about five to 10 years; however, luxury mattress models may be guaranteed for 15, 20, or 25 years.

Warranty Claim:  A customer’s claim for repair or replacement of, or compensation for non-performance or under-performance of an item as provided for in its warranty document. 

Weight Distribution:  The apportioning of weight on a mattress.

Wellsville®:  Made by Malouf, Wellsville is the newcomer to the bedding industry.  Specializing in gel memory foam and hybrid options. 

Wholesale:  the selling of goods in large quantities to be retailed by others.

Wood Bed:  A bed with a headboard and footboard made of wood, having side rails of wood or metal that support the foundation and mattress.

Wood Frame (for box springs):  The wood frame in a box spring on which the spring construction is mounted.

Wrapped Coil:  Construction method in which coil springs are individually wrapped.  This allows each coil to respond to pressure independently of the neighboring coils.  Wrapped coils greatly reduce motion transfer, making it the preferred choice for beds that are shared.